THE QUEEN RANIA FACTOR. I was in Whole Foods the other day, like a good out-of-touch elitist, shopping for cheese, and at the checkout stand I saw a glamour shot of Queen Rania of Jordan on the cover of Washington Life magazine. I have to say that I've long been bugged by Western elites' fascination with this particular queen. Here she is hanging out with Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and George Soros. And here she is with Laura Bush.
LARRY AND ME. As my time guest-blogging at TAP begins to draw to a close and as someone who�s had a fair amount of attention in the blogosphere lately, I want to say that the level of the comments here is pretty impressive. Now it would not be hard to be more rational and literate than much of what goes on amongst the mommy-bloggers (see the recent eruption of �Linda!
WORDS TO LIVE BY! In case you're wondering why the GOP leadership doesn't spend a lot of time taking advice from libertarian intellectuals, take a gander at William Niskansen's view that "the House Republicans should split off the minimum wage provision from the appropriation bill, allow a separate floor vote on this provision, and demonstrate the absurdity of this proposal by a defeating this measure by a large margin."
WHO SHOULD YOU CHEER FOR? The World Cup's a tough time for wannabe cosmopolitan progressives. We always hear about the Europhiles populating the left, but the truth is, Europhilia requires a bit more than a taste for good cheese and an affection for the welfare state. Indeed, it demands a near encyclopedic knowledge of soccer. And not just teams who've already penetrated the literate lefty's consciousness (I'm looking at you, Barca and Arsenal), but the unknown squads, the local teams, the regional powers. And even that knowledge, once acquired, proves itself rapidly obsolete come World Cup time, as the multinational European outfits disassemble so their players can rejoin their native country's all star teams. So who to root for? Who's good?
IGNATIUS ON GITMO. We need some content up here quick, so let me just say that David Ignatius is certainly right about this. It's hard to maintain consistent focus on the Bush administration's bizarre and inhuman passion for degrading the United States' record on core human rights issues, but what they're doing in Guantanamo is an enormous outrage.
EVERYBODY LOVES IRAN. One interesting result of the latest Pew Global Attitudes survey (PDF) is the high level of Muslim support for the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Pluralities in Egypt and Jordan and a majority in Pakistan say they want to see Iran get the Bomb. That's not opposition to American military intervention in Iran, that's people actually favoring Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons on the merits. Thirty percent of Indonesians and 23 percent of Turks are also on board.
LABOR 101, PLUS SOME EXTRA CREDIT. You owe it to yourself to read Nathan Newman's inspiring, irresistible "Why Unions? Labor 101." Folks here know I'm a health care guy, but one of the reasons why is my belief that among our health system's many destructive tendencies, it's largely helped doom the labor movement. To be fair, the union movement was often complicit, offering insubstantial support to national proposals and preferring to expend resources on improving limited benefits for their direct members. It's a sin they've long since repented for, with yesterday's UAW convention offering only the latest example.
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!Slate is hosting a debate between former New Republic Editor-at-Large Peter Beinart and American Prospect Editor -- and advanced, multidimensional life form -- Mike Tomasky on Beinart's new book The Good Fight. Attentive readers will already have read Mike's review of the book, but if not, check it out, then grab your ringside seat to Slate's prominent pundit thunderdome.
BORROWED TIME. I'm not going to try and strain to work myself up into a lather of ineffectual indignation about it, but obviously beating a crowd of 200 women's rights protestors in Teheran in loathsome. The article even comes with bonus Islamic Republic weirdness: "Throughout most of the confrontation, female officers beat female protesters and male police beat male protesters there to support the women. Male police generally are not permitted to touch female suspects."